Microsoft Ships the First Redstone 5 Build, Launches Windows App Previews

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So what are the main changes in these fresh builds?

The Redstone 4 update, build 17101, is being released to Windows Insiders in the Fast release ring and the Redstone 5 update, build 17604, to those in the Skip Ahead ring.

Essentially, what's happening here is that we've reached the point where the next Windows 10 update (Redstone 4) is nearly due, so therefore close to finalized, and thus Microsoft has begun work on Redstone 5 testing, releasing an initial build to Insiders who've previously chosen the "skip ahead" ring.

For now, Microsoft is only allowing a small subset of Insiders in the Fast ring to opt into Skip Ahead, as the company wants the majority of Insiders to keep testing Redstone 4 builds and report any bugs they find.

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Those running Skip Ahead builds of Windows 10 will continue to receive new versions of Windows 10 apps. "These builds will come from the RS_PRERELEASE branch", Microsoft's Dona Sarkar said in a blog post. "Just like other power policies in Windows, the contents of the Ultimate Performance policy can be customized", Microsoft says. There is also a new power scheme called Ultimate Performance. Both OEM's and users would be able to select the power plan as per their will. However, it is worth noting here that since the new scheme reduces micro-latencies, it may adversely affect your hardware and make it more power hungry than what it was on the default balanced plan. Well, there's nothing huge here, with some emoji getting an update, and the expansion of Windows app permissions to let the user decide which UWP apps get access to Windows 10's full file system.

As part of a raft of updates coming this spring, Microsoft will be bringing a new power management system that "reduces micro-latencies" and enhances overall system performance through a series of tiny performance bumps.

Ultimate Performance is not now available on battery-powered systems, but this could change as the feature is rolled out. This is something that Microsoft plans to evaluate and fine tune over time.